Why are our representatives turning their backs on us? And why is the president given all this power unchecked?

Roman Inquisition

JoAnn Wypijewski’s article on the contradictory culture of the Church provides some of the most insightful commentary I’ve ever read about the ways in which homophobia and homoeroticism collide in Catholicism.

I am especially grateful to Wypijewski for articulating how homophobia has led both journalists and clerics to overlook the countless girls and women who have been assaulted by priests. Her observation that sexual assaults on boys are much more likely to be treated as “real crimes” than are attacks against female victims reminded me of an exchange I had with a newspaper reporter back in 2002. When I complained that the press was ignoring female victims of predatory priests, the male reporter replied, “You know how people think? They read story after story about boys who were molested by priests. Then, if they come across a story about a priest who molested a woman, they say, ‘Well, at least he got the sex right.'” In other words, in line with the homophobic horror inspired by the sexual violation of altar
boys–a grave crime, which, it should be stressed, ought to inspire profound condemnation–people have come to interpret the sexual assault of girls and women as a sign of sexual health. Having heard countless comments like this over the years, my question is not, “When will the Catholic hierarchs regain some sense of morality?,” but, “Why is the Church still standing?”

SUSAN E. GALLAGHER

Coalition of Catholics & Survivors

Medford, Massachusetts

Worse Than Watergate

I agree with this article 100% and I wonder if this can be put to a stop. Now would be the right time. I had to live through the Watergate years and it made me untrusting of the government. And now I am even more [so].

Why are our Representatives turning their backs on us? And why does the President of the United States be given all this power UNCHECKED? The government is not by the people; it is by the government and for big business. I have noticed that most of President Bush’s administration has had positions with big energy and oil companies and have served with Reagan, Bush, and now [George W.] Bush. Our government has become power and money hungry….

GREGORY E. MARSHALL

Smith vs. Darwin

J.K. Galbraith’s otherwise excellent article repeated the error of many by including: “Darwin’s whole point is that variation and change are random.”

Mutations are indeed random, but Darwin’s point was that natural selection does indeed provide direction by the “preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations.” Indeed, this is the thrust of the secondary title: “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” FWIW.

The other quibble I have with his story is the sentence: The word ‘evolution’ barely appears in [The Origin of Species]. If fact, the word evolution does *not* appear in it. (And, for interest, the words “evolve” and “evolving” likewise do not appear, while the word “evolved” appears once and only once, as the final word.)

BRETT AUBREY

Who Holds the Clicker?

Having read the fine investigative report by Rob Waters (“Medicating Aliah,”
May/June), I was surprised and disappointed in Mother Jones for publishing Lauren Slater’s article on the use of brain implants in the treatment of mental illness.

Publicizing this experimental procedure can only raise false hopes [in] many people with psychiatric diagnoses. Doing so also validates the widely held belief that mental problems are brain diseases which can be treated medically, a belief for which there is no scientific proof. Furthermore, the article suggests that brain implants may be the wave of the future as a psychiatric treatment and possibly a huge money-maker for the manufacturers of the implant devices.

All of this can only lead to more fruitless implant experimentation, more harm to those being experimented upon, and more control in the hands of those holding the clicker.

LEONARD ROY FRANK

San Francisco